Tom Grennan @ Bedford Esquires, 19.04.17

Tom Grennan was never supposed to be a small time artist. From recent studio sessions with Diane Warren to shows that sell out on the back of two EPs, Grennan is a man destined for a future of glory, and it’s beckoning him at an early point in his career. 

Tonight, the Bedford-born singer returns to Esquires for a hometown show - and for this, it’s his stadium. With a sound bigger, and meatier, than usual, the musician comes on stage to a roar from friends, family and those who have played their part in getting him to the position he is in now. It’s instantly clear that his vocals are the best they have ever been, and his showmanship is almost reaching perfection. Silencing a room, Tom’s performance is audibly outstanding and his control over a sold out room is applaudable - just a short while ago, the story could have been completely different. 

Opener ‘Sweet Hallelujah’ receives a rapturous reception and reveals the young star as a solo musician, how we got to know him when he first started. The audience start to turn and smile to each other, giving the nod that they’re about to watch something almost extraordinary - and final reviews (via the medium of Facebook) would go on to confirm that this, for many, is one of their favourite gigs in the venue. This doesn’t feel like a hometown show, it feels like a return for a musician who has been in the limelight for a few decades. It’s reaching a momentous level. 

Lengthy, soulful, vocals fill the refurbished church for the opening minutes, and then the sea of fans watch the established artist’s influences unfold; from subtle R&B tones to real power ballads. ‘Lucky Ones’ feels like a significant turning point in Grennan’s progression as a songwriter, it tells a story and hits the point of a chart-topping melody - a target that will soon be in reach for the man younger than a large proportion of the crowd. It’s already a ‘best of’ kind of show, with ‘All Goes Wrong’, ‘Something In The Water’, ‘Praying’ and ‘Giving It All’ all making an appearance, all with added consistency, thanks to the four members who join him on stage regularly to produce something awe-inspiring. 

Nervous laughs, several shoutouts and a whole load of audience involvement, in terms of singing back to him, make a Tom Grennan show unforgettable. Though a buzz was already in the air, the Bedfordshire musician set Esquires alight and took to the stage as a professional, without any qualms as to whether he could make this his own. Undeniably, this is a guy set to make his way to the top and save himself from crashing down. On the eve before he plays Union Chapel in London, and KOKO in September, Grennan bows out as Bedford’s main man. It may be over in his hometown for now, but the audience leave the venue knowing they’re about to hear about their boy wherever there may go.